Scrapbookpages Blog

July 26, 2012

Why did the Commandant of Auschwitz confess to the gassing of millions of Jews?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:57 am

A British blogger has written an outstanding blog post about how Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, was tortured and intimidated in order to get him to confess to the gassing of millions of Jews.  The title of the blog post is The British Catholic, Rudolph Hoess, and torturing children; you can read it in full here.

The blog post is quite long, but it is a must read for anyone who is interested in the history of Auschwitz and how the number of deaths was determined by the Allies.  Included are photos of Rudolf Hoess, showing him with a bloody nose after he was beaten, and a photo of British Major Gerald Draper confronting Hoess who has an expression of fear on his face.

What was Draper saying to Hoess at that moment, that induced Hoess to confess that millions of people were gassed at Auschwitz?  Was Major Draper threatening to torture the children of Rudolf Hoess?  I always thought that Hoess confessed because the British threatened to turn his wife and children over to the Russians.

Read what my fellow blogger wrote:

My photo taken in 2000 in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC

On May 14, 1946, the former Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rudolf Höß, also known as Rudolf Hoess, signed a sworn affidavit (shown in the photo above) in which he stated that two million Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1941 and 1943 while he was the Commandant. This did not include the period, during which Hoess was not the Commandant, when over 300,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed during a period of 10 weeks in the Summer of 1944, according to the Auschwitz Museum.

The English translation of the German text in the affidavit reads: “I declare herewith under oath that in the years 1941 to 1943 during my tenure in office as commandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp 2 million Jews were put to death by gassing and a 1/2 million by other means. Rudolf Hoess. May 14, 1946.” The confession was signed by Hoess and by Josef Maier of the US Chief of Counsel’s office.

The photo that is displayed at the USHMM, along with the affidavit, shows Hungarian Jewish women and children walking to one of the four gas chambers in the Birkenau death camp on May 26, 1944, carrying their hand baggage in sacks.  What happened to all those sacks?  Did the Jews march past the barracks, nicknamed Canada, where the clothing taken from the Jews was sorted?

The spot where the clothing warehouse at Birkenau was located

Krema IV was located just north of the clothing warehouses, which were in a section that the prisoners called Canada. Across the road from Canada was the Central Sauna which had a shower room and disinfection chambers where the prisoners’ clothing was deloused. Krema IV had a fake shower room which was actually a gas chamber.

The caption underneath the photo in the USHMM reads:

On May 14, 1946, Rudolf Hoess, the former commandant of Auschwitz, signed a declaration stating that during his tenure in office, 2 million Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz and another 500,000 killed in other ways. Hoess overestimated the number of Jews gassed by about 1 million.

Was this confession obtained from Rudolf Hoess by means of torture? Rupert Butler wrote in his book entitled Legions of Death, published by Arrow Books in London in 1983, that Hoess had been beaten for three days by a British team of torturers under the command of Jewish interrogator Bernard Clarke.

Despite the confessions of Rudolf Hoess, the number of victims killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau is now officially given by the Auschwitz Musuem as 1.1 million, of which 900,000 were Jews.  This does not change the figure of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.  That number is sacrosanct and the penalty for denying it, in 19 countries, is 5 years or more in prison.

You can read more about the confessions of Rudolf Hoess on my website here.